Skip to comments.GOP Aims to Retake 2 Texas Districts
Posted on 02/25/2008 3:33:59 PM PST by flattorney
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Republicans are still hot over the loss of two congressional districts to Democrats in 2006 especially the one that had been held by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and they're looking to win them back this fall. But first, they must choose their challengers in the March 4 primary. Both seats drew multiple GOP candidates eager to take on incumbent Democratic Reps. Nick Lampson in the 22nd District and Ciro Rodriguez in the 23rd District. National Republicans have set their sights on finding someone who might evict Lampson and Rodriguez in November. "These are the ball game, absolutely," said Hans Klingler, the state GOP spokesman.
Lampson, who won his seat after scandal forced DeLay to resign, and Rodriguez, whose district was redrawn to include more Hispanics after a court fight over minority voting rights, routinely appear in news releases headlined "Target Dems ..." from the National Republican Congressional Committee. "I think (the seats have) got symbolic value for both parties," said Gary Keith, assistant professor of political science at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. "For Democrats, they're trophies that they won from Republicans. And for Republicans, it's Tom DeLay's seat that they've just got to get back."
Lampson's district covers a piece of Houston and the rapidly growing Fort Bend County. Rodriguez's is the largest district in Texas, stretching from San Antonio to the U.S.-Mexico border and west toward El Paso. Two Republicans are competing for the right to challenge Rodriguez, and 10 fill the GOP ballot in the race to face Lampson. "When candidates can barely contain themselves in getting into a race, that says that there's probably a pretty good opportunity to capitalize on," said Ken Spain, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman.
One candidate in DeLay's old district is making her second try. Republican Shelley Sekula Gibbs was elected to fill the remaining months of DeLay's term, but Lampson beat her write-in campaign in the general election. "I'm going to work to make sure (Lampson is) a one-term congressman," Sekula Gibbs said. "I promised the voters that I would work very hard to win this seat back."
If none of the 10 Republicans seeking that seat receives 50 percent of the vote in the primary, the top two vote-getters will face a runoff in April. All 10 are pushing their conservative credentials and highlighting issues such as illegal immigration and national security. Most are focusing on attacking Lampson rather than each other. "I think all of the candidates in this race, we all stand on the same platform," said candidate John Manlove, the former mayor of Pasadena. "The differences are in our experience and track record."
In the 23rd District contest to face Rodriguez, Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson is taking on attorney and banker Francisco Quico Canseco, who has been actively campaigning since early last year. "It was just the perfect storm for us to lose this position" in 2006, Larson said. "The base will be energized (this time). They really want this seat back." Republicans are optimistic about ousting Rodriguez even though the 23rd District was redrawn to be more than 60 percent Hispanic, a bloc that tends to vote Democratic. "In the last four years, there has been some strain of the Hispanic base away from Republican Party and I think this is a tremendous opportunity to get a good foothold in South Texas," Canseco said
GOP candidates praise DeLay, but claim differences
Houston Chronicle by Alan Bernstein
Feb. 20, 2008
- - Each of the 10 District 22 hopefuls finds something to disagree with
Republican candidates for the Houston-area congressional seat once occupied by Tom DeLay praised him for his political outlook Wednesday but said they would not mimic his legislative votes or actions on several major issues. State Rep. Robert Talton of Pasadena, for instance, said he would favor small businesses over multinational corporations, implying that DeLay did otherwise. "I would support the conservative views," said former Pasadena Mayor John Manlove, "(but) I think I would be much more conservative on reducing (government) spending. "In some instances I admire him as a leader," financial analyst Brian Klock said, " ... but he got caught up in playing partisan issues that I think hurt him. We need leadership that will transcend partisan in-fighting."
The 10 GOP candidates in the March 4 primary for the 22nd Congressional District job made their comments at a meeting with the Houston Chronicle editorial board. DeLay, once a powerful leader of congressional Republicans, resigned in 2006 and awaits trial on state charges involving the use of campaign funds. The seat is now held by Rep. Nick Lampson, a Democrat in a district DeLay designed to favor a Republican. It takes in parts of Fort Bend, Harris, Brazoria and Galveston counties.
Candidate and information technologist Ryan Rowley lauded DeLay for his effectiveness as a Republican leader in Congress, but added that he "made some very bad mistakes in terms of selecting people who were around him." Rowley said he accepts no campaign contributions that would have strings attached, implying that DeLay's courting of lobbyists affected his performance.
Intelligence analyst Kevyn Bazzy said he would vote for congressional term limits and a balanced federal budget. GOP lawmakers promised in 1994 to install term limits as part of their Contract With America that DeLay helped promote.
Dermatologist Shelley Sekula Gibbs called DeLay a great party leader but added, "I would not vote for bloated budgets."
Sekula Gibbs served the last seven weeks of DeLay's term before Lampson took over.
State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar said she knew DeLay for years as an uncompromising advocate for conservative values, but she disagrees with his support for NAFTA and other free trade agreements.
Transit stance opposed - Former Senate aide Pete Olson said DeLay did a good job of balancing his obligation to the district as its representative and to the nation as a legislative leader. But, he said, "some of the explosion of government, I would vote against that."
Former Sugar Land Mayor Dean Hrbacek said otherwise: "People in his district lost faith in terms of, "Who was Tom DeLay representing?" He said he and other local officials favored developing mass transit projects that DeLay opposed.
Former Judge Jim Squier remarked, "I don't know how my vote would differ from his on conservative issues, but I do feel strongly about who a congressman listens to." If a congressman solicits large numbers of contributions from lobbyists, he added, "you are opening yourself to criticism."
Posted for FlAttorney by MAR
Did the GOP repeal that stupid rule that cost Tom Delay his job in the first place?
I worked on the Bonilla campaign, even though I couldn’t vote in his district, and said at the time Cyro Rodriguez is a one-termer! Bonilla had to go into a run-off with 48+% of the vote in the general. People were burned out in the run-off and Move-on was there in force. Turn out for the run-off was absolutely dismal, only about 12% of the registered voters even voted in the run-off. I think Lyle Larson is a force to be reckoned with - IMO!
The rule didn't cost him his job -- only his committee chairmanships. What cost him his job was his failure to respect his glass house environment, and his failure to be the hammer and going after his detractors more forcefully. Also, by bowing out after the primary, he prevented the possibility of having a GOP candidate on the ballot in November, thus HANDING the seat to the dems. The dirty tricks the dems (most notably pond scum Austin DA Ronnie Earle) threw at Delay were despicable, but Delay himself made his own decisions that handed the dems that seat.
Mucho TX-23 Mexican border. FlA's latest data reflects the Democrats are outraising the Republicans 3:1 for 2008 U.S. Congress races. - MAR
Even under redistricting, Bonilla received 48+% of the vote in the general election, running against 5 or 6, maybe 7, Dems. Rodriguez got the highest % of the Dems, which wasn’t very much, and went on to the run-off. The run-off for Bonilla DEPENDED heavily on voter turn out and unfortunately, turn out was dismal! People were just plained tired of politics at that point. Rodriguez had Move-on support and they came out of the woodwork from other states to work his run-off campaign. The 23rd has some strong Republican precincts, especially northwest San Antonio. Del Rio has a big military presence. We’ll see, I’m still sticking to my statement that Cyro Rodriguez is a one-termer. If I could vote in this district, I’d put my money on Lyle Larson, and I may contribute to his campaign anyway.
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